About two years ago we started a beer education program here at Legal Remedy Brewing. We implemented the Cicerone program. The Cicerone program specializes in the service and knowledge of beer. There are four levels of Cicerone and it became our goal that everyone at LRB become a Certified Beer Server (1st Level). We do five one-hour classes with our staff that explore beer brewing, service, styles, and tasting. This gives our staff the knowledge on how to handle beer, and more importantly, the ability to have a dialogue with our guests about beer styles and flavors. This helps people find a beer they are going to enjoy at LRB.
Once we check off one thing we start looking for the next goal. For us, this was to becoming a Certified Cicerone. To get to this level, (2nd level out of four), there is a three hour written test, blind tasting, and a short demonstration of service knowledge. Chad and I have been working for the past year exploring and seeking out everything we could learn about beer so that we could get to that level. This past Monday we went to Asheville to take the test. Honestly, we were ready and we needed to get it over with. I feel that I nailed the serving and brewing section. Not going to lie, I was a little shaky in the style category section. There are 72 styles you have to know and a few I know backwards and forwards-but you are not sure what they are going to ask. Of course they asked about a few that were not as familiar to me. To pass the exam you need to score higher than an 80%. On the written exam, I wrote, wrote and wrote – taking the entire three hours. I hope I wrote the right stuff. Sadly, the tasting portion of the exam I know I did not do very well compared to the practices I had done in the past. It is possible to just have to take the tasting portion again.
We find out in four to six weeks if we passed. But even as we wait, we will continue to look for ways to expand our beer knowledge. The reality is we will either be a Certified Cicerone or we will be continuing working towards being a Certified Cicerone. There’s always more to learn!